Jaya Dismisses Over One Lakh Striking Employees Under Esma

Chennai, July 5: | Updated: Jul 6 2003, 05:30am hrs
Invoking the amended Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma) provisions, the Tamil Nadu government has dismissed thousands of employees and teachers from service throughout the state, even as the strike entered the fourth day on Saturday, sans the agitations because of week-end holidays.

Though the exact number of dismissed employees was yet to trickle in, the joint action council claimed that nearly one lakh employees had been dismissed from service throughout the state.

Notices containing the names of dismissed personnel have been pasted on the doors of several departments. The number of dismissed in the city had been put at 10,000 and in the secretariat, the seat of power, at 4,000. There are a little over 5,000 employees in the secretariat.

Police sources said a little over 2,200 employees had been arrested in the past three days for inciting employees, who were keen on resuming work.

Meanwhile, a press release from the Secretariat Employees Association said the strike would continue without any let up, till their demands were conceded by the government. The strike would be intensified from Monday next, when all the 12 lakh employees, along with their family members, would participate in the state-wide demonstrations, it said.

We strongly condemn the governments action of resorting to midnight arrest of employees, including women. This is nothing, but a mini-emergency, the release said.

Meanwhile, general secretary of the Central Government Employees Mahasammelan M Duraipandiyan said in a statement that the central government employees in Chennai would hold demonstrations in front of a post office here on July 7 to extend moral support to the striking government employees.

AICC secretary GK Vasan told reporters here that the government should come forward to hold talks with the striking state government employees to find a solution to their problems. The large scale dismissal and midnight arrests expose the anti-labour policy, being pursued by the Jayalalithaa government, he said.

The official spokesman of the Congress party, Peter Alphonse, in a separate statement, described Fridays ordinance as duryodhana politics.

The time has now come for all forces to come together to join hands for putting an end to the fascist rule of the state, he said, adding that the Congress party would support such moves.

Meanwhile, the DMK-backed Labour Progressive Front (LPF) has decided to file a public interest litigation in the Madras High Court on Monday, opposing the amended Esma. The ordinance issued on Friday, amending certain key provisions of Esma, is against Article 309 and 311 of the Constitution, C Kuppusamy, president of the LPF and Member of Parliament, said in a statement.

Giving retrospective effect to the ordinance was unheard of, he said.